California is a very progressive and open-minded state. In 2008, California began granting same-sex marriage licenses, opening up a new way for same-sex couples to formalize their union and garner themselves the same rights that heterosexual married couples have. Though Proposition 8 put California same-sex marriages on hold, again in 2013, same-sex marriage licenses began to be issued once more.

Today, same-sex couples across California can choose to either enter into a marriage or domestic partnership, both with special rights that previously were only afforded to married heterosexual couples. These rights are significant and so the legalization of same-sex marriage in California was a very important step towards marriage equality. As such, California family law looks out for same-sex couples to ensure they are given the same rights when it comes to marriage and divorce as heterosexual couples do.

That being said, same-sex prenuptial agreements, also called prenups or premarital agreements, are going to be similarly structured as those for heterosexual couples. One big difference in same-sex marriages and prenups is that often, same-sex couples will have been together for a while before getting married, due in part to the fluctuating legality of it in California. Much of California family law language sets the date of marriage as the date off of which spousal support and asset division is hinged. For this reason, you may want to discuss your options for prenup language with a skilled California family law attorney to make sure your separate and community debts and assets are clearly outlined prior to marriage.

Similarly, same-sex divorces won’t differ significantly from heterosexual divorces as the same issues need to be sorted out, such as the division of community debts and assets, support orders and custody arrangements for any minor children the couple have had or adopted in common. These steps will be done as they usually are. One important difference is that if you were married in California but now live in a different state, you may have to have your divorce handled in the California jurisdiction, based on your new state’s laws.

Same-sex couples also do not need to meet the same residency requirements as heterosexual couples do. If you have questions about same-sex marriage, including prenuptial agreements and divorce, it is highly advisable you speak with a family law attorney with experience in this area. Prenuptial agreements are complex documents and should be handled by a skilled family law attorney in any case. It is also a good idea to discuss the other legal implications of a same-sex marriage if you have any further questions.

Are you in the Los Angeles area and have questions about protecting yourself in a same-sex marriage? Certified Family Law Specialist Mark H. Karney has experience representing high net-worth individuals and handling complex prenups in Los Angeles County. Serving the Los Angeles and Beverley Hills area, Mark H. Karney offers respectful and compassionate legal counsel for same-sex couples. Call our office at 310-564-5710; email us at or contact us through our online form today to schedule a free consultation.